Friday, December 05, 2008

Leftovers for the auto industry

A reader emails about the wonderful new Harper lame duck period we are entering into:
This prorogation may allow for a cooling off, but during the hiatus, the
government can only spend what they had planned and for housekeeping matters
like salaries. They cannot, for example, offer a bailout to the auto sector
until Parliament resumes.
Even if they present a budget as suggested, it would take a few weeks to get
items approved through budget debates and confidence motions. Infrastructure
projects require environmental assessments, tendering and approving
contracts, getting companies ready with workers etc.
And should they be defeated on a non confidence motion, another election
would waste more time. If defeated, there is time involved in transition of
power.
Meanwhile the financial carnage continues, tax revenues decline, social
services demands increase. And the Conservatives play chicken.
Tony Clement nevertheless has a MacGyver-like solution to the little budgetary fix we're in courtesy of Prorogation Steve. Needless to say, the fact that Parliament is missing in action is not a problem whatsoever for Tony:
The suspension of Parliament shouldn't put the brakes on financial aid to Canada's troubled Detroit Three automakers, say federal Industry Minister Tony Clement and Premier Dalton McGuinty.

As General Motors, Ford and Chrysler put the finishing touches on their restructuring plans for presentation to the two governments today, Clement said Ottawa has money left from its last budget to help the companies – providing they meet certain conditions.

"We still have spending decisions that we can and should make ... it is possible for us to signal our intentions," Clement said as he and McGuinty attended the opening of a new Toyota plant here, built with federal and provincial assistance.
...
Government officials will study the Detroit Three's plans over the weekend and next "week or so" with a view to making recommendations to McGuinty and Harper soon, said Clement.

The industry will not have to wait until Ottawa's 2009 budget slated for Jan. 27, said Clement, whose minority government could face challenges getting it passed in the fractious Commons.

"We cannot act on budget 2009 until we pass budget 2009," he said.
See how it all just works out for them? I wonder how much there is in the way of leftovers from last year's budget? The figure of $5 billion for the Canadian auto sector is being reported. So unless Tony has multiple billions left over, and I'm thinking he doesn't, then how is this going to be done without being in the new budget?

It's likely that we're in for some budgetary creativity like we haven't seen before until January 27 in order to cover a certain someone's behind. Tremendous idea to put Parliament on the back burner until the end of January.